You might find this hard to believe, but at noon Marsha and I succeeded in getting our flu shots at the Pen Bay hospital vaccination drive-through. I could hardly wait to get home and tell my friends about our adventure on Facebook. Yes, I’m addicted to what I think they call “a social media platform.” And because the virus has, for all practical purposes, eliminated social interaction, even a trip to a doctor gives us something exciting to talk about.

What do suppose my true-love wife said to me as we took our place in the line of cars? “Now, don’t babble.”

We tried to get our protection from the flu disease for weeks and failed. Our doctor no longer gives flu shots, but you can get them at grocery stores. Marsha checked out the possibilities on her iPad. On two occasions I called Walgreens drugstore, got a recording that said we don’t need an appointment for a flu shot, and was told when we got there that they had run out of vaccine.

Because I am an inveterate doom-croaker I would have bet that the Pen Bay people had also run out of vaccine or that we would find ourselves on the end of a 50-car line.

Luckily for us, there are many people in Knox County who distrust vaccinations (as well as the destructive rays from cellphones and microwave ovens), so the line was short. We were in and out in only a few minutes. There were only three cars ahead of us when we arrived and only one car behind us when we left.

The line would have been even shorter, but a lot of people still don’t know what a vaccination is. If they realized that the technician is injecting what I believe are punch-drunk germs into their bodies, they would never in the world subject themselves to such a primitive procedure.


In “The Count of Monte Cristo,” Grampy Noirtier gave his granddaughter increasingly larger drinks of poison so when the wicked stepmother gave her a full glass of it, she was able to quaff it down and cry because there wasn’t any more.

A vaccination helps one build up a resistance to disease in a similar manner.

The bad news about today? We didn’t get the granddaddy of all flu vaccinations as – yup, they were out – but we got the wimpy medium-powered shot, which should suffice to give me a sore arm and a headache for two days.

The girl in the outside booth was glad to see us, as I told her that because the woman in the car and I were related she could use the same needle.

Before I forget, do you also find Facebook to be a useful tool? We have very hard water in the drilled well and because a yellow rust stain appears on one of our toilet bowls, I asked my Facebook friends what to do about it. Over 20 friends posted advice, but Jackie actually showed up at our door in a pouring rain with freshly baked nissu and a package of toilet bowl pumice.

Of course she couldn’t come in and, because it was pouring, we couldn’t chat. But I immediately posted on her Facebook page: “The nissu was wonderful. But just to make sure. Was it the one in the brown wrapper?” Marsha was not amused.


You have heard an occasional friend say that more and more of their relatives are getting their information from social media and not the reliable world press – which they have so recently been told to distrust. Although their view of current events has nothing to do with reality, it is what many of these latter-day Archie Bunkers pass along to their neighbors and co-workers for news.

This concerns me because I realize that by simply reading my own Facebook page, I am continually bombarded by opinionated posts that I might be tempted to believe. Just the other day we all learned from the real news media that one of President Trump’s companies paid $188,561 in taxes in China between 2013 and 2015, although the self-proclaimed billionaire paid only $750 in U.S. taxes in 2016 and 2017.

One of my wicked good friends in Portland dryly observed that Donald Trump “paid almost as much to China as he has to hookers and porn stars combined.”

A brilliant defender of our president quickly replied, “Well, obviously he supports working women.”

The humble Farmer can be heard Friday nights at 7 on WHPW (97.3 FM) and visited at:

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.